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November 19, 2008

Preventing Holiday Weight Gain: 10 Tips to Guarantee Holiday Weight Gain

The annual holiday food fight is about to begin.  You know, the one where conflicted women nationwide (even worldwide) face down rich-food eating traditions.

This year, to help women understand what doesn’t work when it comes to happy holidays, the healthy-weight experts at Green Mountain at Fox Run have come up with some sure-fire tips to take the guesswork out of gaining those holiday pounds.  We counter them with sensible advice for emerging from the holidays feeling great.

For Guaranteed Holiday Weight Gain

Before the Holidays

·      Diet! Diet! Diet!  Let’s face it, you expect to overeat during the holidays so why not get a jump on weight loss now?  If you’re feeling truly ambitious, try dieting during the holidays, too; the deprivation will be highly effective at driving you to overeat.  Our real advice:  Learn to eat what you want now in a way that leaves you feeling great.  Then the holidays won’t pose any special challenge, and you can enjoy them fully.

·      Work out extra hard and long every day.  You can make up for those times during the holidays when you won’t want or have the time to do anything.  Our real advice:  When we overdo on exercise, we’re more likely to burn out, or worse yet, injure ourselves, and guarantee we don’t want to do anything.  Slow and steady wins the race.

·      Start weighing yourself daily.  You’ll be able to follow your weight up and down the scale, and cut back even more when you’ve gained an ounce.  Then you’ll heighten your feelings of deprivation even more, further guaranteeing holiday overindulgenceOur real advice:  Toss out the scale now and for always.  It generally doesn’t give the instant gratification we seek, and often negatively impacts our motivation to take care of ourselves.

During the Holidays

·      Take on as much work as you can.  If you don’t do it, who will?  The holidays just aren’t the holidays without all the fuss!  Our real advice:  Choose wisely in what you commit to.  You may end up with fewer or simpler celebrations but you’ll enjoy the holidays much more.

·      Surround yourself with family and friends who make you feel guilty about eating.  It’s easier to say ‘no’ when your spouse, mother, sister, daughter, friend looks disapprovingly at you as you reach for that wonderful holiday sprinkled cookie.  Our real advice:  Educate family and friends about the real impact of their attempts to control what you eat.  If they won’t listen, minimize your time around them when you’re eating.  It may mean missing a party or meal, but you might feel much better as a result.

·      Forget about stress management for now.  You’re too busy!! Just focus on getting what you need to get done.  And be sure to really have too much to do before big parties.  If you can pick a fight with your spouse on the way to a party, all the better to guarantee extra emotional overeatingOur real advice:  Take care of yourself physically and mentally to help keep a balanced view on what’s important during busy times.  Maybe the easiest thing to do:  Get some exercise! Physical activity refreshes, relaxes, revitalizes and will add energy and enthusiasm to your life.  Make it a regular part of your day during the holidays and after.

Before & During Parties

·      Make sure every social event revolves around food.  If you throw the party yourself, make too much food, especially desserts!  Set up nuts and other goodies early so you can pick at them all day long while you skip meals.  You do eat fewer calories that way, right?  Our real advice:  Traditional foods are a big part of festivities, but holidays don’t have to be all about food.  Plan fun activities such as pumpkin bowling (knock down gourd ‘pins’ with small pumpkins), a pine cone toss (count how many pine cones you can land inside a hula hoop) or just fun and refreshing walks through the woods, around the neighborhood talking to friends you pass.

·      Set a ‘hands-off’ rule for all the rich foods you’ll encounter.  If you just say ‘no,’ you’ll be able to nip any weight gain in the bud!  Our real advice:  When we forbid foods or label them ‘bad,’ we set ourselves up for overeating them.  Again, learn to eat foods you love – even those rich in calories, fat, sugar – in a manner that makes you feel well.  That way, you’ll enjoy them and, if you’re following a healthy lifestyle, you’ll enjoy a healthy weight, too.

·      Go ahead and buy all those goodies on sale in jumbo packages.  They’re for your guests; they won’t create any problem for you having them around.  Our real advice:  Good intentions aside, mere exposure to food often sets us up for wanting to at least taste it, especially if we’ve got the idea we shouldn’t.  Help yourself by buying only as much as you really need, and even then, it might help to keep goodies tucked out of sight in the pantry until party time. 

·      Bank calories whenever possible.  Skip breakfast and lunch to make sure you’ll overeat at the party.  Our real advice: Feeding yourself well all the time leaves you better nourished and able to choose wisely whether at parties or the food court at the mall.

Posted by Marsha on November 19, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

November 05, 2008

Women's Healthy Lifestyles: Self-Esteem & Loving Ourselves

We've written a lot about self-esteem and self-acceptance over the years we've had this blog.  The issue is that we spend our time apologizing for who we are because we are ashamed or otherwise feel bad about our body size.  But for the last 36+ years, we at Green Mountain at Fox Run have been trying to move women beyond the issue of body size and women's weight loss.  We have always proclaimed that we are much more than our body size and to be successful in achieving a healthy lifestyle and living a healthy, happy life, we need to like ourselves for who we are, regardless of our body size.  Thelma, our founder, began our program with the phrase "You're going to like you!"  Sounds simplistic but is so at the core of the issue.

Pat Ballard, self-described "Queen of Rubenesque Romance Novels," recently published a non-fiction book titled "10 Steps to Loving Your Body (No Matter What Size You Are)."  Check out the 10 steps to building your self-esteem independent of body size.  Here's her tenth tip that I think rings true for all of us as we traverse this challenging journey called life.

But most of all, you have to love yourself. When you love yourself, others will love you and respond to you in the exact manner as you feel about yourself.

Posted by Marsha on November 5, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 29, 2008

Get Ready for Healthy Weight Week

They don't get the attention the Academy Awards do, but they ought to.  I'm talking about the Slim Chance Awards, given to the "the “worst” of the worst of the many weight-loss products and programs that flood the internet, the airwaves, and the pages of print materials in seemingly increasing numbers."  Whether they're promises for women's weight loss or any other version of the subject, we can be sure they're not about healthy lifestyles or self-acceptance.

Healthy Weight Week is sponsored by the Healthy Weight Network and describes 2009's event as "the 16th annual Healthy Weight Week is a time to celebrate healthy living habits that last a lifetime and prevent eating and weight problems.  Our bodies cannot be shaped at will. But we can all be accepting, healthy and happy at our natural weights."  

Last year's award winners:

Evercleanse, Most Outrageous Claim
Bio SpeedSLIM, Worst Claim
HoodiaHerbal, Worst Product
Hollywood Detox Body Wrap, Worst Gimmick

You can see they're serious!

Send nominations to Francie Berg, Coordinator Task Force on Weight Loss Abuse, National Council Against Health Fraud, Healthy Weight Network; 402 South 14th Street; Hettinger, ND 58639, along with supporting material or online link if possible. Or email her at [email protected]  Put Healthy Weight Week in the subject line.

Posted by Marsha on October 29, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 22, 2008

More on Healthy Weights & Reading

51ilyzv1gwl_sl500_aa240__3A couple weeks ago, I posted about research that showed reading books that young girls could identify with helped improve self esteem and might be a good way to reach them with helpful fitness and health information. Emphasis on the helpful, which to us at Green Mountain means health at every size [HAES] messages.

For anyone who can use a primer on what HAES is all about, I'm thrilled to report that Linda Bacon has published her long-awaited book (long-awaited in HAES circles at least) "Health at Every Size, The Surprising Truth about your Weight." Excerpts from the website:

Fat isn't the problem. Dieting is the problem.

A society that rejects anyone whose size or body shape doesn't meet an impossible ideal is the problem.

A medical establishment that equates "thin" with "healthy" is the problem.

The solution? Health at Every Size

Health at Every Size is not a diet book. Read it and you will be convinced that the best way to win the war against fat is the give up the fight.

This is a book with helpful messages that anyone concerned about womens healthy living -- or anyone else's, for that matter -- can really use.

Posted by Marsha on October 22, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 21, 2008

Healthy Self Esteem in Hollywood – Where ‘O Where ART Thou?

I tried watching Desperate Housewives. I t looked like it might be fun when it first came out, but I grew weary of its manipulative style very quickly. Yet, it’s still on and apparently getting good enough ratings to return for a fifth season.

Quite by accident, I happened across it last week only to discover that one of the main housewives, Eva Longoria’s character ‘Gabby’, now has a couple of children - fat ones.

What I saw in just a few minutes was Eva, shopping with her overweight daughter (who, by the way, looks exactly like I did until I was about 12 -adorable!), for some kind of princess/party dress at a costume store. Of course, it doesn’t fit, and so the humiliation begins.

In an effort to add to the hilarity, the adults portrayed, show all the compassion of a tube of toothpaste. Ignorance and insensitivity abound! Later, the young girl is shown eating a half a sheet of birthday cake at the party and even more ridiculous the clueless Longoria, repeatedly tricks her child into running along side her car while she stops and starts as the young girl tries to open the door and get in, this, in an effort, to get her to exercise.

I confess I know next to nothing about her plot line. But, I guess I know enough to understand that her fat children are supposed to be her penance. Gabby was the neighborhood sexpot who ran around in her underwear while cheating on her husband with the gardener. Now she’s going to pay, right?

To the writers, directors, producers and overpaid actors of Desperate Housewives, way to live up to your name…desperate.

Judge for yourself. Video

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Posted by Cindy on October 21, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 08, 2008

For Healthy Weight Loss, Read a Book?

According to a women's health website, Duke University researchers this week released results of a study that showed young girls (age 9 to 13) who were part of a weight loss program fared better after reading a novel that featured a story line about a young large size girl who worries about going on an outdoor school trip but ends up doing well on the trip, improving self-esteem and physical activity levels along the way. The researchers said that the study shows a novel way (pun intended) to reach young girls with positive weight loss information.

In my book (pun intended again), it sounds like this is all about identifying with others, finding others that deal with similar issues and seeing how they successfully navigate their way to taking care of themselves. We see that all the time at Green Mountain. Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of taking part in our healthy weight loss program is bonding with other women who are here, learning that we are not alone in our search for how to take care of ourselves and gaining the powerful support of like-minded women who can help us see our options.

Peggy Elam, PhD, clinical psychologist, is founder and president of Pearlsong Press in Nashville, Tennessee. It's a wonderful source for fiction that features story lines starring large size women that may be able to help provide inspiration, insight and support for other large size women. At the least, they're entertaining reads.

Posted by Marsha on October 8, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 02, 2008

A Simple Step towards Positive Thinking

We've talked plenty about positive thinking over the years we've had this blog. Most often it's focused on helping ourselves overcome negative self talk that really cuts into our ability to take care of ourselves, to do the things that we need to do to make ourselves feel well and achieve our goals whether they be about weight loss or living happily.

My Daily OM horoscope yesterday suggested a very simple strategy that I've already employed a couple of times since I read it. Just repeat to yourself periodically (or come up with something similar that 'speaks' to you):

Things are wonderful.


My life is joyous.

The horoscope then goes on to say,

Inner satisfaction comes from a realization that we already possess everything we require.

Say these things to yourself a couple of times today, or whenever you think of it. Where do your thoughts go? For me, it's all positive.

Posted by Marsha on September 2, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 27, 2008

Accepting What Is

I just kissed my high school senior as he left for his first day of his last year of school (next year, it's college, not 'school'!). That's after putting my daughter on a plane last weekend, off to her second year of college. And we're taking our Belgian 'son' (my daughter stayed with him and his family for a year in high school) to send him back to Europe for his first year of college (or whatever they call it in Belgium). It is definitely a week for endings and beginnings. And, for me, the best way to weather the change is to accept it and make the best of it. I could find a lot of things to be sad about, but instead, I'm looking at the positive -- how I choose to look at life as much as possible.

This time mirrors the ups and downs we all go through in life, with just about everything. Certainly, with how we do in taking care of ourselves, trying to live a healthy lifestyle and be the best we can. When it comes to healthy weights, if we can take a step back and be more accepting -- loving ourselves and our bodies for what they are instead of aiming for unrealistic goals and taking care of ourselves in that manner -- we'd surely find healthy weight loss if it's in our cards (that is, if we are indeed at unhealthy weights) and we'd definitely find greater peace with eating and physical activity and life.

It mirrors, too, the change of seasons we're facing right now in Vermont. Fall has come early, it seems. Cool mornings, moderate days, cool evenings foreshadow the time most of us kinda dread until it's here -- winter. But when it gets here, I for one find it lovely. It's just getting there -- the change -- that hurts a bit. Accepting what is would help me get rid of the hurt, I am sure.

Karin Kratina, a consultant for our healthy lifestyle program, and a great thinker in this area, has sent in one of her periodic e-letters a list of quotes that help us with acceptance. I share a few here, and encourage you to visit Karin's website for more great insight into healthy living.

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss

"Each individual woman's body demands to be accepted on its own terms." ~Gloria Steinem

"To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” ~E.E. Cummings

"It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are." ~E.E. Cummings

"Is life not a hundred times too short for us to stifle ourselves." ~Friedrich Nietzsche

"Once conform, once do what others do because they do it, and a kind of lethargy steals over all the finer senses of the soul." ~Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

Posted by Marsha on August 27, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 30, 2008

Healthy Living: Becoming a Master of Joy II

I've had an old, dear friend visiting with her husband this week, and it has been a delight, enhanced by the gorgeous weather we've had in Vermont. I've known Patti since I was 18 -- we became best friends early on, and even though separated by a continent, we stay in touch so that when we get together, it's like we saw each other yesterday. Although more stories to catch up on. :-)

Anyway, in searching for a quick post to put up this morning (we're off on another day of sightseeing soon and I haven't even showered yet -- although I did do my morning Nordic walk -- more on that next week!), I thought I'd just search for an oldie but goodie that I did in the past. I chanced upon the title of this one and thought it surely expresses the tone I'd love to communicate today. I am having a joyous week, and if I could help you do the same, well, all the better.

So I'm repeating this old post on feeling good about ourselves (which will help us with all kinds of emotional eating, binge eating, disordered eating, exercise resistance, boredom...and endless list) and wish you a happy, no, joyous rest of the week, month, year, life. Just click on feeling good about ourselves and go, girl (and boy, too)! This is truly what healthy living is all about.

P.S. The picture on this post isn't what Vermont looks like right now -- it's just a promise of things to come!

Posted by Marsha on July 30, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 23, 2008

Doctors, Body Weight & Shame

We've posted on the subject of doctors and weight several times before so when a colleague forwarded me an article from the New York Times titled "Should Doctors Lecture Patients about Their Weight?," I skimmed it without expecting to learn a lot. But I was wrong. I found a delightful blog written by a physician "Dr. Rob." The name of the blog: Musings of a Distractible Mind.

I haven't had a lot of time to browse the blog but thought Dr. Rob's musings about shame over body weight were worth sharing, especially his closing comments.

Is obesity a problem? Sure it is. But we need to get off of our self-righteous pulpits. Obese people should not be made into a group of outcasts. The “them” mentality and the finger-wagging are no more than insecure people trying to feel better by putting down others.

Sounds like a doctor I'd like to visit. Although I am blessed with doctors here in Vermont who don't feel like they need to lecture me about anything, much less my weight. We are all adults and as Dr. Rob says, " Obese people are rarely under the impression that it is perfectly fine that they are overweight. They rarely are surprised to hear a person saying that their weight is at the root of many of their problems. Obese people are the new pariahs in our culture; it used to be smokers, but now it is the overweight."

The only thing I'd say about that quote is that I think many more problems are attributed to overweight than is actually the case.

Read the rest of his post, and if you find any other great musings, let us know. I'd be surprised if you didn't.

Posted by Marsha on July 23, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack